NEWTOWN, Conn: The Eurofighter Typhoon’s success is proving a boon for the aircraft’s ECR-90 Captor radar system. (ECR = European Collaborative Radar.) The Euroradar consortium consists of EADS Defence Electronics of Germany, INDRA of Spain, and SELEX Galileo divisions in Italy and the U.K.
The ECR-90 radar provides air-to-air and air-to-surface coverage. Its air-to-air radar features include search modes, lock-follow modes, and air combat acquisition modes. its air-to-surface radar features include search modes, track modes, and air-to-surface ranging and terrain avoidance modes.
A contract for 620 Eurofighter aircraft for the air forces of Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K was signed in January 1998, with overall production divided into three tranches. Tranche 1 consists of 148 aircraft. A contract for Tranche 2 production, involving 236 Typhoons, was signed in December 2004. A Tranche 3A contract for 112 fighters followed in July 2009. (Tranche 3A is approximately half the size of the originally negotiated Tranche 3 production quantity.) In addition, Austria and Saudi Arabia have signed on as Eurofighter customers.
Future Eurofighter contracts could result from 1) the four partner nations agreeing to a Tranche 3B order; 2) a follow-on contract from Saudi Arabia; or 3) new business. Several possibilities exist for new orders, with India being the most promising. The Euroradar consortium is embracing the growing popularity of AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars.
In May 2009, EADS announced the conclusion of the CECAR (Captor E-sCan Risk reduction) program, which developed the CAESAR – Captor AESA Radar demonstrator. CAESAR successfully completed a flight test program in May 2007. The CAPTOR-E is marketed as a low-risk upgrade to CAPTOR-M (mechanically scanning radar).